Another year, another birthday. I'm lucky in that I share the same birthday as my lovely friend Rachele which means we get double the celebration and have an excuse to throw a birthday party with double the guests, food, and (most importantly) cake.
Last year we made a big batch of cupcakes but this year I wanted to take the time to design and decorate us a themed cake.
During our party planning session we came up with a couple of party themes and ultimately decided that we wanted to have a breakfast themed party.
Not a party during breakfast time, nor a breakfast-for-dinner party, but a party with breakfast themed appetizers, mimosas, and a caesar bar. While we were brainstorming the snack bar I doodled these happy breakfast food characters to use for the cake. I wanted them to be dancing around the outside of the cake holding hands.
Sorry for all of the poorly lit cell phone photos to follow, all of the cake work was done in the late evening. (Fact: it's important to do decorating work late at night while watching Mystery Diagnosis or Hoarders on YouTube for maximum creative inspiration).
The first step was to bake the cake. Since I was making the cake a few days in advance I used my go-to one bowl chocolate cake recipe that stays moist for days and days on end. Once the 4 layers were baked and iced with mocha-rum icing I got to work making the templates for the breakfast characters.
The templates were sketched out on cardstock inside margins that were 2.75 inches tall in order to make the characters a relatively consistent size. Then the templates were used to cut shapes out of gumpaste.
Details were added using the edge of a paintbrush and a few gumpaste tools. Then they were laid to dry on the side of a large pot in order to give them a curve that would match the curve of the cake. I tried a couple of pots before finding one that was a similar size to the cake. If the pot was too small then the shapes would be curved too sharply and would sit awkwardly on the sides of the cake.
Once the shapes were dry, they were painted with gel food colouring mixed with vodka. Using vodka or a clear coloured extract instead of water allows the colouring to dry faster so that your gumpaste doesn't get sticky or soggy.
Outlines and adorable faces were added with a food colouring marker and the happy crew was ready to be attached to the cake.
I covered the cake in a layer of homemade marshmallow fondant, then used a favorite trick of mine to make the words for the top of the cake. I don't trust my piping skills enough to risk ruining the cake while piping out "Happy Birthday" so I pick a font I like, print it out, cover with parchment and then use melted chocolate to pipe out the words on the parchment.
After a quick trip to the freezer the words can be carefully picked up, and attached to the cake with a few small dots of melted chocolate.
Then the happy breakfast friends were attached using more melted chocolate, and their arms and legs were drawn directly onto the fondant using a food colouring marker. Dance happy breakfast food! Dance!
Everything for the cake was done in advance, so on the day of the party we could focus on making breakfast themed appetizers like these mini pancakes. You can see all the tasty treats we made over on Rachele's blog Jolie Home. I have never eaten so much bacon or maple syrup in one evening before.
It wasn't easy cutting the cute cake into pieces, but after one or two (or seven) caesars we were ready to slice and serve.
Those poor breakfast buddies had no idea what was in store for them. The entire cake was eaten in just a few minutes leaving behind only crumbs and strips of fondant.
It was a breakfast birthday success! Here's hoping that it's another year of baking delicious treats and sharing them with friends.